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Unable to display current owner

Run across a strange problem today. On a test server running Microsoft Windows Server 2008 one developer discovered that he couldn't delete a file even though he was admin on the system. I connect to the system and realize that I have the same problem, even though I'm domain admin. When I checked the permissions on the file it just displayed that I didn't have the permissions to see the ACL and redirected me to the ownership tab. All I could see there was "Unable to display owner". When I tried to take ownership I got "Access denied again". So back to the trusted CMD i thought! Same thing cacls.exe returned the same thing and gave me Access denied...


I then ran psexec from sysinternals:psexex -s cmd.exe
This starts the CMD as local system account. Now I have access to anything, or so i thought. NOT!
Same thing again, couldn't do anything with the file or view any options. Back to the drawingboard and then I came up with a reboot. Tried it and failed, it was a desperate measure and it was pretty clear that it wouldn't fix anything.


Then I found the solution, I needed to access the file without windows pounding the NTFS rights in my head. I really didn't want to rip out the hard drive and put it in to an other server to do it. So this is what I did....


Download MoveFile from sysinternals.
Run cmd.exe as administrator.
Run movefile c:\{path}\{fucked-up-file} ""


That will trigger the operating system to delete the file during system boot.

Posted by Kristofer Källsbo

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. This helped me out on windows 7. However, the empty quotes had to be a path. Cheers for sharing!

  2. DOES NOT WORK!!! IT KEEPS SAYING Specifying an empty destination (“”) deletes the source at boot. EVEN THOUGH I DID SPECIFY A PATH!!!

  3. Is it a system file or driver? Otherwise it should be deleted when you give an empty destination!

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